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Rurutu: Polynesian crafts and whales

The island of Rurutu (32.7 km²) is the second largest island of the archipelago of the Austral islands. Rurutu is located 572 km southwest of Tahiti, between the islands of Rimatara and Tubuai. The highest point on the island is Mount Manureva (385 meters). Its inhabitants (2,088 in 2007) are scattered in the three villages of Moerai, Avera and Hauti. The most important village is that of Moerai. Captain James Cook, in 1769, was the first European to discover Rurutu, which was also the first island of the archipelago to be sighted by Europeans.

The island is volcanic in nature, and is a classic raised coral atoll, in fact it is surrounded, in part, by cliffs formed by ancient coral that has risen above the sea. This type of terrain is called makatea, which is why the island is full of cliffs and caves. Rurutu does not have a real lagoon, because the coral reef that surrounds it is located very close to the coast, the island has some beautiful white sand beaches, especially along the south coast.

Rurutu is famous for its typical handicraft: hats, bags, mats and other objects made with pandanus fibers. But the island is even more famous for being a whale watching place, which can be seen directly from the coast of the island in the months between July and October. The most suitable spots for whale watching are located in the bay of Moerai and are the Pointe Tematonaa and the Pointe Arei. Scattered on the island are some ancient Polynesian temples (Marae) such as the Marae Poreopi, the Marae Vitiara and the Tapuara Pito. Among the most beautiful caves are those of Tane Uapoto, Tiana Taupee and Ana Aeo.


Rurutu is connected by regular flights of Air Tahiti with the islands of Tahiti, Raivavae, Tubuai, and Rimatara. The airport is located along the north coast of the island.

The climate of the Austral islands.


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